This week is national Reconciliation Week. Our organisation has a history of collaborating with the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community in our region, working with them to identify gaps in services relating to health and take action to close those gaps.
We have extensively partnered with the Blue Mountains Aboriginal Health Coalition, and from that relationship, established programs such as Healthy for Life.
The Closing the Gap program, as well as the Healthy for Life program, were tailored to meet the needs of the local community. Through these programs across the last eight years we have assisted nearly 700 people, and supported dozens of cultural events, such as the NAIDOC Cup and Closing the Gap day.
Since 2010, we have conducted a series of Sharing and Learning Circles across the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Lithgow and Penrith, gathering greater insight into the issues our Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities face and better understanding where we can play a role in addressing some of these issues.
It is fitting that as part of Reconcilication Week, we once more take steps in terms of our own organisation's Cultural Competence by starting to develop our own Reconciliation Action Plan.
What is a Reconciliation Plan?
The Reconciliation Action Plan program is a framework that is provided by Reconciliation Australia to assist organisations to develop robust plans to achieve their vision for reconciliation. Our Reconciliation Action Plan will provide our organisation with a business plan that documents our commitments to the contribution of reconciliation in Australia.
We aim to launch our Reconciliation Action Plan by Reconciliation Week 2018. It will outline the activities our organisation will undertake over a three-year-period, starting July 2018, to increase cultural safety across the organisation; engage with Aboriginal communities and contribute to improved outcomes for Aboriginal people in the region.
The Plan will be a living thing - it will be continually updated and reported against over time. I am excited that our organisation is now taking this next step in our cultural journey and cementing a key component of our strategic plan.